Welcome to Society of Operations Engineers (SOE)

The Society of Operations Engineers is a new kind of professional body to meet the needs of industry, its members and the public in a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive world.

Operations Engineering covers a wide range of activities including acquisition and commissioning, inspection and maintenance, asset management and product improvement. Often, these are the engineering functions with the closest and most immediate impact on the customer or end user of the product or service. Customer expectations are continually rising, particularly in relation to reliability, safety, the environment and value for money. To meet and surpass these expectations requires standards of professional skill, knowledge and understanding, applied in conjunction with a code of conduct and ethics, and regularly updated through Continuous Professional Development. In promoting these requirements, the Society sees its members as intelligent customers with high expectations.

The Society of Operations Engineers is a Nominated Body of the Engineering Council. It is licensed to nominate candidates with the required qualifications and responsible experience to all three sections of the Engineering Council' register:

Engineering Technician (EngTech)
Incorporated Engineer (IEng)
Chartered Engineer (CEng)

While the academic requirements for these three sections differ considerably, so also do the requirements for related knowledge and practical skills. The Society recognises that the three categories of registrant are interdependent and equally important to the success of any engineering operation. 'Parity of esteem' between these categories is a key element in the Society' core values.

Systems of all kinds, including vehicles and plant, are becoming more complex in terms of materials, technologies and control systems. The operations engineer must understand the functions of all the different elements of a system and the interrelationships between them. He or she must also gain an understanding of the legal, financial, marketing and logistic dimensions of an organisation, to appreciate how engineering can best add value to the enterprise as a whole.

The Society' Core Values can thus be summarised as:

Customer focus;
Professional standards;
Parity of esteem;
Multidisciplinary approach, within and beyond engineering.

The Society' Purpose is

"To promote safe, efficient and environmentally sustainable
operations engineering to the benefit of society"

It pursues this through encouraging people into the profession and into membership and registration, and by providing a wide range of professional advice and services to its members and to others.

The Society of Operations Engineers was formed on 1 September 2000 by the merger of two well-known professional bodies:

The Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) founded 1944, 16,500 members approx
The Institution of Plant Engineers (IPlantE) founded 1946, 5,300 members approx.

The identities of IRTE and IPlantE continue as Professional Sectors within the new Society. The Society is defined in terms of what its members do, while the Professional sectors relate to what they do it to. Administration and finance, and some activities and services such as development of professional standards, membership and registration, are undertaken centrally by the Society. Activities and services related to specific areas of interest are badged to the Professional Sectors; these include the well-established journals Transport Engineer and The Plant Engineer and the extensive regional structure of branches and centres. The regional structure is expected to evolve through local liaison as the Society culture becomes established. Conferences, seminars and exhibitions are badged to the Society or to a Professional Sector depending on their subject.

Much of the benefit of membership lies in access to the knowledge, experience and contacts of fellow members, together with the recognition by employers of the status of membership and registration. The added value of the Society lies in the scope for cross-fertilisation of ideas and best practice in technical matters and in the science of asset management across a wide range of industries, the education sector and the armed services. This also matches the needs of employers for greater diversity and flexibility; for example, senior engineering manager appointments are increasingly becoming responsible for all the facilities, vehicles and plant in a site or a company. The Society can thus remain relevant to an engineer or technician throughout his or her career, and help to widen career options.

The collective knowledge of members is drawn upon by the Society to provide advice based on real-world operations experience to manufacturers and to government, to give members a professional voice in matters affecting their future. (Because of the Society' charitable status, however, this role is quite distinct from that of a trade union or trade association).

The Strategic Aims of the Society can thus be summarised as:

Improve professional education, training, competence and ethics;
Influence legislation and design;
Enhance public understanding of the contribution of the new body and its membership to society;
Promote the benefits of the new body' membership and professional registration.

This introduction to The Society of Operations Engineers has outlined its values, what it aims to do and the benefits of being a member. The picture is completed by what the Society aspires to be, its Vision:

"To be the preferred professional body for those engaged in the
life cycle management of systems, facilities, vehicles and equipment,
and the recognised authority on these matters."

In summary, the merger between the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) and the Institution of Plant Engineers (IPlantE) is enabling the development of a professional engineering culture attuned to the present and future needs of industry, of the engineers and technicians working within it, and of the public. This is a win for all concerned.

For further information on any aspect of membership of the Society of Operations Engineers, please contact the Membership Department at Office 1601 Trendy Centre, 682 Castle Peak Road,  Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon. 

Tel: (852) 2617 0311 , Fax: (852) 2617 0377,
Email to:  [email protected]

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